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Dog Collar 

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Dog Collar 

Written By: Paco Collars 


Edge beveler (1) 

Hole punch (1) 

Leather scissors (1) 

Mallet (1) 

Pliers (1) 

needlenose vise-grip pliers. 

Rivet setter (1) 
Ruler (1) 
Scratch awl (1) 
Screwdriver (1) 
Skiver (1) 
Small scissors (1) 
Strap cutter (1) 
Tack hammer (1) 
X-Acto knifed) 


Leather strip (1) 
or piece of hide. 

Collar template (1) 

from collar. 

Rivets (1) 
D-ring (1) 


water-based edge dye. 

Leather conditioner (1) 

/ recommend a combination of mink oil, 
cream conditioner, and beeswax. 

Decorative studs and/or conchos (1) 
Leather stamp and paint (1) 


I began working with leather seven years ago when I stumbled across it during the hunt for 
the perfect collar for my dog, Paco. Since I've never taken a class, most of the following 
techniques are either self-taught or passed on to me by old-time leather workers. 

When working with leather, remember that it falls under the same rules as wood, metal, and 

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Dog Collar 

stone: measure twice, cut once, and when you can't beat it, learn to work with it, 

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Dog Collar 

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Dog Collar 

Using high-quality materials will 
pay off in the long run. Use brass 
hardware whenever possible 
(nickel finish is available) and start 
with a high-quality latigo leather. 
Originally used as horse tack, 
latigo leather is meant to tolerate 
sweat, dirt, and weather, and will 
not only stand the test of time but 
will look better doing so. 

Some of these tools you may 
already have lying around your 
house. You can find the specialized 
tools online at or at 
one of its many branches. If you 
need to speak to an expert leather 
worker, call up Chris Howard at the 
Michigan branch and tell him we 
sent you. 

CAUTION: The nature of 
leather tools — sharp! — 
means that your skin poses no 
serious obstacle. Use every tool 
appropriately and safely, and 
before you begin each step, watch 
where your hands are! 

If you have a piece of hide, adjust 
the strap cutter to the width of the 
collar you want and run along the 
straight edge to create a strip from 
which you'll cut the collar. You can 
also buy pre-cut strips from most 
leather suppliers. 

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Dog Collar 

• To determine the length of leather 
to cut, take your dog's exact neck 
measurement and add 10". It's a 
healthy measurement, and you 
may end up cutting off some 
excess, but while you can always 
subtract, you can never add. At 
both ends, crop off the corners for 
a finished look. 

Using a keen edge beveler, run the 
tool along the top corner of the 
leather to remove the edge. Repeat 
on all sides and ends. This step 
creates a more polished look and a 
comfortable fit for the dog. 

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Dog Collar 

• Select a water-based edge dye that 
matches the color of the leather 
you're working with. Keep a wiping 
rag handy and use an applicator or 
specialized dispenser to cover the 
exposed edges with an even coat 
of dye. Take care not to drip over 
the leather, as the dye stains 

• Taking the time to apply 
conditioners will extend the life of 
your leather goods. They can also 
bring an old leather product back to 
life. Apply mink oil and cream 
conditioner on a rag and, using 
your hand strength, work into the 
leather. To finish, wipe beeswax 
lightly onto the leather and then 
wipe off the excess. This last step 
protects the collar against water. 

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Dog Collar 

• Download the template from the 
Files section above. Take the side 
marked "buckle end" and slide it 
flush to the end of the leather. Use 
a scratch awl to mark the leather 
where indicated. For the tail end, 
follow the instructions on the 
template and line up the second 
hole at your dog's exact neck size. 
Mark the leather at the end of the 
template, cut off the excess, and 
bevel and dye the end. 

Working from the suede underside 
of the leather, use the skiving tool 
to remove about half the thickness 
of the leather from the mark on the 
template to the buckle end. This 
step will remove bulk and make it 
easier for the leather to conform 
around the buckle. 

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Dog Collar 

The hole punch tool comes with many different head sizes, from #0 to #5. The template wi 
tell you which size punch to use for each hole. When preparing to punch, always lay a 
scrap of leather underneath, as impact with a hard object can crack or bend the punch. 

Line up the punch, using the scratch awl mark as the center of a bulls-eye. With several 
firm whacks, use the mallet to depress the punch through the leather. Repeat until all holes 
are punched. 

Using an X-Acto blade, cut out the leather where indicated to create an oblong slot for the 

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Dog Collar 

• Weave the punched leather through the buckle and fold the tail underneath. To set a rivet, 
push the male end of the rivet through both layers, from the bottom, and top it with the cap. 

• Place the rivet-setting anvil on something hard, like a piece of marble. Select the 
appropriate anvil (it will be the slightly concave one the same size as your rivet cap) and 
use the mallet to set the rivet firmly. You cannot hit the rivet too hard! If you don't set it 
firmly enough, the collar will fail, so if you're not sure, tug the leather the same way your 
dog on a leash would, and reset the rivet if need be. 

• Set the 2 rivets closest to the buckle first, slide on your D-ring, and set the remaining 2. 

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Dog Collar 

• Now comes the fun part. Select your decorations and map out their placement on the 
collar. Mark the leather by using the actual decoration itself (apply pressure to make a 
mark) or a scratch awl. For studs, it helps to lock them in a pair of needlenose vise-grips 
so you can easily mark both tails at once. 

• Decorations attach to the leather in 1 of 3 ways: screw-back, rivet-back, or tails. For 
screw-back conchos, use a #4 or #5 hole punch, punch the hole, and then screw into 
place. For added security, apply a drop of threadlocker on the backing. 

• For rivet-back decorations, use a #0 punch and the appropriate setting tools. Without 
machinery, setting rivet decorations securely enough for daily wear while simultaneously 
not damaging the decoration can be tricky, so we recommend staying away from rivet- 
backs if you can help it. 

• For studs, cut parallel holes with an X-Acto blade, push the stud through the holes, turn the 
tails in with a screwdriver or pliers, and then gently tap with a tack hammer. Studs are an 
easy way to add a lot of flash to a collar, like spelling out a dog's name, that's sturdy 
enough to last. 

• There are also a variety of leather-stamping tools on the market as well as paints and 
finishes, so you can stamp shapes or re-create your favorite 70s belt. 

• Leather working can be challenging, but the reward of creating a piece of art that can 
potentially outlive you or your dog is worth it. Most leather workers are more than happy to 
share techniques and solutions if you find yourself stuck, so don't be afraid to call on us! 

• NOTE: Most leather decorations are calibrated for the thickness of leather, so if 
you want a vegan option, the best thing to do is start with a pre-made vegan belt 
that measures at least 1/4" thick. Treat it like a strip of leather, as all the tools and 
instructions stay the same. 

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Dog Collar 

This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 10 . pages 111-114. 

This document was last generated on 201 3-01 -30 04:32:56 PM. 

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